Cybersecurity bill passes House subcommittee

A cybersecurity bill that would protect ISPs (Internet service providers) from liability when reporting a potential threat was approved by a subcommittee in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday.

The Cyber Security and Enhancement Act of 2001 (HR-3482), introduced in December by Texas Republican Representative Lamar Smith, passed the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Crime, according to a spokesman for Smith. The bill proposes freeing ISPs from liability when they report suspected cybercrime, such as an e-mailed bomb threat that crosses their network, assuming they act in good faith. It also calls for strengthened penalties for cybercrime and increased funding for a government-run center to detect security threats.

"Until we secure our cyber infrastructure, a few keystrokes and an Internet connection is all one needs to disable the economy or endanger lives," Smith, who is chairman of the House Subcommittee on Crime, said in a statement Tuesday. "We cannot afford to let our technology be our weakness."

The bill has not been scheduled for a vote by the full Judiciary committee yet, although Smith's spokesman said he expects the full committee to consider it in the coming weeks.

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